Neufchateau, France 12/21/1917

Same place in France


Dear Em.


Now Ive got to apologize for what I said last night, and when I tell you that I received three letters from you today dated the 14th 20th and 23rd you will know what Im apologizing about.


If you havent received my letter dated Dec. 20, Ill tell you that I think I was disapointed when I failed to hear from you yesterday. Im not going to try and tell you how much I appreciate your Christmas present, (and that is just what these three letters are) for I don’t want to fill this letter up with some thing you already know. Im going to tell you that youve got quite a scheme, addressing your letters with bleueing.


Em, you speak of receiving my letters; what letters, for you see Em it is so long between letters that I wish you would state the date so that I will know how my mail is getting along. Parlez vous. Your letter of the 13th of Nov. said that I spoke of being short of tobacco. I not only got your package, but I also got one from the boss and one from an old member of Co. K 8th Mass. V.M. A sister of one of the fellows at the shop wrote and said she was sending me a package. The boys of 85 South St are sending a large package, so the shipper writes, and Im not being forgotten by Lil. So you see Im pretty well healed if I am away over in France. Now Ill appreciate all you send (but) don’t go to too much bother (all you folks) by sending a lot of packages, for they may get lost after all. You speak of getting another box ready and I hope it reaches the party it is intended for.


You also speak of getting some news through the papers but Em, don’t take too much stock in this news. I hear that one Boston Paper had a piece stating that the 103rd Reg. was already in the trenches. We are as safe now, as we would be were we home among the slackers (yes I think more so.) Tell Bert I thank him very much for what he is doing toward supplying me with fags and quid and also Pa for his help.


So the Ayer boys are going South. Well Em give them all the luck and sympathy you can, for their never getting any from the Sammies. Im glad to hear that Henry and Leonard are getting sociable, and I hope they will continue to be so. Give him my very best regards and tell him I wish him the very best of luck. It is funny that sugar is so scarce over there when we get it in our coffee, although we see very very little milk. OH you condensed milk.


As for taking a bath, say Em Ive got all through worrying. Im going to be frank and say Ive had just two of these since landing in France and we hit here which was just two months tomorrow. And Im feeling great. You will be able to use the toilet all the time when I get back at this rate what? Its tough to think Ill be dirtier before the job is done though.


Em as you state in your letter of the 13th of Nov. Do you notice how I pick your letters to pieces and just eat them up. You say you’re with me what ever I do and where ever I go and I realize it Em. Im glad to hear that all is well with every body and remember me to the Hollands individually please. Did they get my letter yet? In your letter dated the 20th you start by saying you received a letter from me Friday. Id like to know what date it had on it so I would know how many of my letters are in route. You said you worked all day Saturday which must have been the 17th. I suppose this working over time is a thing of the past now, and I don’t know of any better use you could put your over time to now than write to A.E.F. I hope Pa enjoyed the day off he had and also his visit to Madge. I bet you think your some kid in your darby coat. More speed to you.


I sent Aunt Mollie and Little Mary some mail c/o of you for I couldn’t for the life of me think of her address, and it is just as well that I did Im thinking for you say she is moving. How’s Mc. Im sorry to hear she isnt feeling any to well and hope that by the time this reaches you she will have fully recovered. You spoke of yesterday being a good day, but this is not the case here, the only good day we get here is Bon Jour from the natives. Every day is snow rain windy or damp and cold. But Im feeling great. Did Henry stick to his promise by spending Thanksgiving with you. How was the stuffing, squash, say tell us about it will you?


Im a Y.M.C.A. crank from now on. Yes they are doing splendid work, and I know beleive me. Ever since leaving the shores of A. we have been helped wonderfully by this organization. No matter where the U.S. troops go the Y.M. is there ahead of them with their huts and good advice. The next draft you say is in Feb. Well Em I may be a veteran in this game by that time, soft peddle, but a lot of music. March is the spring remember. Nuf Ced.


I can see Pa sitting there in that rocking chair as plain as you could the night you wrote this letter. Does he use the lamp Henry put in? OH you comforts of home. You say Bert and Lena have gone out, I bet Len looked pretty clever, she’s there (but don’t tell her I said so.) OH you Theresa at the piano. Im all alone here tonight and I can hear her tickling the keys as I have when every one at home was out and me sitting at that kitchen table reading or wondering whether Id go out or not. You said you had the door open so you could hear her, just as I would if I was there all alone tonight. You start now and Ill sing tenor. Don’t you remember the cat yowls we used to have. You spoke of my letter which stated Im not receiving any mail. I guess Ill have to take this all back now.


Washing, say Em Im ashamed to mention this part of this trip so nuf ced. Lets talk of pleasant things, even if we are not at the table. I havent spent an unpleasant day yet since leaving Westfield as far a my health was conserned, and if Sam has any thing to do with it I will come sailing into Boston Harbor or some other welcoming seaport of Uncle Sam and American flag.


Your letter of Nov. 23-17 is the darb. It states that you received my letter of the 31st of Oct. Now I know that you’ve got a lot of mail coming to you. And if there is a letter for me for every one that is on the way to you, Ive got some coming to me. You said it was longer. Im glad of that, for I must have had some thing to write about. Tell Sadie Im waiting for a letter from her now that she said she would write. Tell her not to put off til tomorrow what ought to be done today. Tell her Im sorry for that leg she hurt and tell me if it is better. OH I went and read the letter wrong it was her arm she hurt. Well she can tell me about that too.


Lena is Hoverizing on food stuffs, and I guess Im doing some of this econimy stuff with this paper. Getting down to my old speed now I guess. You said Lena was making all kinds of bread. We get this (so called bread) once a day. You could make me hungry by mentioning any thing that Lena cooks. You spoke of a service flag outside the shop on which was nine stars. It is the first I heard about this flag, and I could name every one they represent. I think I would too if it was not for the fact that Id be putting draft men where they did not belong as did the firm.


Im glad to hear in your letter of the 22nd of Nov. that Mr. Holland is now up and well and tell him to cut out this being sick buisiness. It isnt good for a body. (Im not through yet) Also Mollie. Tell her I dont want to hear of her being sick again. You see us fellows over here have no time to be sick. A sick man is almost as bad as a (Bosh). You say you havent been to any dances. Whats the matter, are your legs petrified or are you feeling like sixty. Put me inside of Roughan’s tonight and I wouldn’t care if this old war lasted forever. Im in my right mind too Em.


OH before I forget it tell Bert if he wants to read a book, a real book tell him to get “Over The Top” written by Arthur Guy Empey. It discribes to the letter the recriut and rookie in this war. I cant mention where we’ve been, the conditions under which we traveled and lived. I read the first part of it and it seemed as though I was relating my own personal experience. Well Em Ive written two letters besides this tonight equally as long and as taps has blown a half hour ago I think Ill call this quits for tonight and finish and send it on its long journey tomorrow. Bon niut…


© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

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  1. Dear Readers:
    Please refer to the page “Sam’s References Explained” for entries referencing “Blueing, Ayer Boys, Hooverizing and Service Flag.”

    Also please refer to Great War Links for an online version of the Great War classic “Over The Top” by Arthur Guy Empey.


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